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Sixers waste brilliant Embiid performance in tough loss to Warriors

Joel Embiid put up 46 points, but the Sixers struggled from deep and couldn’t stop the Warriors down the stretch.

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

This loss is familiar territory. Despite an otherworldly performance from Joel Embiid, the Sixers fell 120-112 to the Warriors Friday night in Golden State.

Embiid had 46 points, and almost recorded a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists. Tobias Harris also shot the ball well with 23 points on 10 of 12 from the field, but they were outgunned as Jordan Poole dropped 33 points. Stephen Curry had 29, and Klay Thompson had 21 points, shooting 6 of 13 from downtown.

Philly was once again without James Harden and Jalen McDaniels, as well as Danuel House Jr.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • The Sixers have had one of the best three-point percentages in the league all season, and they were taking on the Warriors, so naturally both teams combined to shoot 3 of 19 in the first quarter.
  • Both teams lived in the paint early, Embiid had 13 in the first, getting to the line seven times, and dishing out three assists. He certainly has demonstrated a higher level of focus with his passes when Harden is out of the lineup.
  • Furkan Korkmaz has not played non-garbage time minutes since New Year’s Eve, but he was back in the rotation tonight with the wing rotation thoroughly depleted. The Sixers led by four after the first quarter.

Second Quarter

  • A real rough stretch for the second unit, especially on the defensive end. Paul Reed was pulled after a little under two minutes, opting to go small with P.J. Tucker at center. The Warriors have always exploited these minutes, typically having Steph Curry on the court while Embiid sits. That lineup continues to struggle to get stops, as the Warriors shot 6 of 7 in the second before Embiid returned.
  • After a number of backdoor cuts, Tobias Harris was in a rhythm. He went into halftime with 15 points, shooting 7 of 9 from the floor. A lot of his jumpers were ugly, plodding post ups, but it was offense the Sixers needed, as they were struggling from outside.
  • The Sixers didn’t make their first three until four minutes into the second, and shot just 29 percent from deep in the half, but they were able to hang in the game as some began to fall. One from Embiid and a pair from Maxey saw the Sixers trailing by two at halftime.

Third Quarter

  • De’Anthony Melton has been super disruptive lately, and tonight was no different. He finished the night with three steals, his fourth game in a row with at least three. This ability has done wonders for a team that is otherwise pretty bad in transition.
  • It felt like a pretty pedestrian quarter for Embiid, but perhaps that is because of how often the Sixers were at the line in the third. Through three quarters, Embiid himself had taken more free throws (17) than the entire Warriors team (13).
  • Embiid had 31 after three quarters, scoring 12 of those in the third as the Sixers got a little bit of separation for the first time all night. They took a nine-point lead into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

  • It was another daunting task to hold the lead while Embiid sat, and it started off well before going very similar to the first half. Rivers went back to Reed for this stretch, which felt like the right decision despite the missed free throws. A 7-0 run from Jordan Poole brought Embiid back into a two-point game.
  • If Embiid’s third quarter felt pedestrian, his fourth certainly didn’t. He checked back into the game and scored seven points in about 90 seconds, punctuated by this nifty and-one.
  • As if the Sixers +/- from this one wasn’t enough, it was truly up to Embiid to do everything. He scored 15 of Philly’s last 19 points.
  • They basically had to have one of Niang or Tucker on the court, but Niang was a turnstile on defense while Tucker couldn’t hit a three with all the space in the world. Between Curry, Thompson, and Poole it was too much for Embiid to overcome on his own.
  • The March gauntlet continues as the Sixers will head to Phoenix to take on the Suns sans Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET.

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